From The Big House.
Today someone I knew a few years back – who got out and came back – came to my cell and asked “What are you doing with your chicken nowadays?” It took me back in time a few years, back to when I first came to this prison. A horrible place – not the prison, but my state of being at the time – a place I never want to go back to, but never want to forget lest I fall back there.
I used to sell my chicken each week for yard stamps. We get real meat once a week, it’s known in here as chicken on the bone. Those who have nothing and no one, usually sell that as I did to get some coffee. Coffee is 3 dollars on commissary, but they don’t take loose stamps so you have to go to an inmate store guy. They charge 25% interest to take stamps in trade or credit. That means 5 1/2 weeks of your chicken meal for 3 oz of instant coffee. Coffee really gives a human aspect to life.
I did not know a single person outside the fence. After my arrest I spent months in a mental hospital. I was put back on several psychotropic drugs. I went for years and never even questioned my daily existence. I slept when I was not at work or standing in line to get pills. Then one day in 2014, I had got some hot water for my coffee and saw something on the TV. You have to have a radio headphones and batteries to hear it. I had none of that. There was these poor animals on there in the snow and ice, some chained out in the open. They had that look in their eyes that I felt in my heart we were connected right then and there. A link that will always be between our hearts. The tears were almost ready (you don’t cry in prison) when suddenly I thought about seeing one of those ASPCA things at the hospital where Sarah McLachlan was singing “Arms Of An Angel.” The tears could not be held back any longer and I made a mad dash to my cell hoping my cellie was gone. I sit there and cried for all that I couldn’t do for the animals, for all that I could not do for everyone in the world as the next day was Christmas Day.
That is the day I wrote in my journal first page first line “I don’t mind being alone its Lonesomeness I despise.” (12-24-14) That was a lifetime ago. I started my journey back. This time I had a reason, to help others no matter how small that help is, I give it whenever the opportunity avails itself. I gathered up all the courage I had, and reached out to others, the hardest thing i ever had to do as rejection has been a constant companion of mine since birth. Now in all that I see (with my heart) I see beyond the appearance to the heart as I did in those precious dogs and cats that were starving on the TV screen. I felt their pain, their loneliness, their hopelessness. I had been given a new life. I had been reborn with an attitude of love and compassion for all living things. No Miracle just a link heart to heart. That link that connects every life to life between beating hearts in the world in every form in every place at every time.
Now today my life has meaning. I try in every thing I do to make it to help some one or something. I know that no matter how dire my conditions, or how hopeless my circumstances are, by seeing with my heart I find a world of need and in that my life has meaning. As long as we can think we can serve in some way. We can make a difference in some small way. There is no special time to bring good will and cheer except each moment.
It is my hope that every one who reads these words know just how much your life means. Please reach out the world is filled with need.
In closing today let me say Have a Merry Christmas.